Video games sustain FIFA in the worst of the pandemic
The cybernetic ball rolled more than the real one in 2020. The International Association Football Federation (FIFA) has revealed in its latest financial report that beyond the expected negative results due to the paralysis of all kinds of shows and public activities due to the coronavirus pandemic, video games have prevented the total collapse of their accounts. Of the 266 million dollars (224 million euros) in reported income By FIFA, 158.9 million – for the first time more than half – come from licensed products, such as video games.
“A key source of income in the area of licensing rights was the concession of brand licenses for video games,” acknowledges FIFA in The report. “In contrast to the many economic sectors that were drastically affected by COVID-19, the video game industry proved to be much more resistant to the pandemic.”
But it was not by chance. FIFA had already been preparing the field of electronic play for several years and the pandemic only proved that they are on the right track. FIFA has a wide range of products that little by little have been successfully breaking into the electronic sports industry (sports, in English) and online video game streaming. Besides the FIFA eClub World Cup, the FIFA eChallenger Series and the friendlies StayAndPlay de FIFA eNations, the Federation also launched the FIFA eContinental Cup and presented Thane, a new brand of esports tournaments designed to create a substantial stage for players, clubs and nations, according to the report.
However, the good figures of virtual football do not compensate for the losses in the more traditional sources of financing. FIFA announced a 65% drop in total revenue, with a 99% reduction in TV rights billing and a net loss of $ 682.9 million.
A safe bet
During the recent session of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), FIFA President Gianni Infantino addressed the development of electronic sports and encouraged participation and investment in the video game communities. According statements that it collects the specialized page Inside The Games, Infantino insisted on “seizing the opportunities of a changing landscape such as technology, society and sport that accelerated our investment and focused on virtual forms of our sports to engage young people.”
Infantino’s statements resonate in an industry that is growing by leaps and bounds. Video game and e-sports streaming will attract 1 billion viewers by 2025. In addition, the last study of the research firm Juniper Research estimates that the sector will revalue 70% in the next four years, and that one in eight people worldwide will be a spectator or player in this industry.